In this article, we will discuss the Yohimbine supplement as what is yohimbine, its effects on fat loss and erectile dysfunction, dosage, side effects, and everything else that you must know before using it. Yohimbine is considered a toxic supplement and has many side effects. Yohimbine is banned in many countries. So, I request you to read the article very carefully before using it.
- What is Yohimbine?
- Yohimbine’s Effect on Fat Loss
- Yohimbine Effect on Erectile Dysfunction
- Yohimbine Side Effects
- Who Should Not Use Yohimbine?
- Important Information About Yohimbine
What is Yohimbine?
Yohimbe is an evergreen tree that is found mainly in the Central and Westen part of Africa. The bark of this tree has been used as an aphrodisiac since ancient times. Aphrodisiac means a substance that stimulates the desire and ability to have sex. This bark contains a compound called Yohimbine. Scientists have extracted this compound from the bark and now it is available on market as a dietary supplement for sale.
Yohimbine is promoted for:
- erectile dysfunction
- sexual desires
- weight loss
- athletic performance
- angina (chest pain caused by not enough blood flow to the heart)
We will try to find Yohimbine’s efficacy in the above cases.
Yohimbine’s Effect on Fat Loss
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) has written on its official website that this supplement is not effective for weight loss. (30) The ODS is a department of the US government that is highly reliable and provides important health information. But still, we will study all the clinical trials related to Yohimbine.
In 2006, a clinical trial was conducted on 20 male soccer players (average age 24 years) to determine the effects of yohimbine on body composition and exercise performance. Subjects were given 20 mg yohimbine per day for 21 days. All subjects consumed the same standardized diet and followed the same strength training program.
After 21 days, there were no statistically significant changes in body mass, muscle mass, and exercise performance. But the body fat percentage significantly decreased from 9.3% to 7.1%.
In 1991, a study was conducted on 20 overweight women. They were given 20 mg yohimbine every day for 21 days in addition to a low-energy diet of 1,000 kcal/day.
After 21 days, it was measured that yohimbine significantly increased the mean weight loss in the yohimbine group 3.55 kg vs. placebo (dummy pills) group 2.21 kg.
In 1991, a clinical trial was conducted on 47 males (mean age 42 years) to determine the effects of yohimbine. They were given a high dose of 43 mg yohimbine per day for 6 months. The study showed no effect of yohimbine on body weight, body mass, total cholesterol, HDL, body fat, and fat distribution.
In 1986, 18 mg of yohimbine per day was given to 19 overweight persons for 8 weeks, in addition to a low-energy diet of 1,000 kcal/day. The study found no change in body weight and blood pressure.
Study 1 and 2 says that yohimbine is effective for fat loss but studies 3 and 4 says that yohimbine is not effective. This is the reason ODS has declared that Yohimbine is not effective. But if we carefully analyze all the studies, we can find out 4 major points that can affect the efficacy of yohimbine supplement.
- Smoking – A few studies (1, 16, 17) suggest that yohimbine is not effective (or less effective) on smokers.
- Fasted State – Many studies (6, 7, 14) suggest that yohimbine works only in a fasted state. For example, if a person takes yohimbine on an empty stomach and does not eat anything for almost 4 hours, it can be effective for weight loss. It is assumed that the presence of insulin almost negates the fat-burning effect of Yohimbine.
- Physical Exercise – It has been seen in clinical trials (1, 6, 7) that exercise can increase the effect of yohimbine supplement. Trials found that consuming yohimbine before physical exercise nearly doubled free fatty acid levels and increased lipid mobilization. In simple terms, exercise helps yohimbine in reducing weight.
- Low-Calorie Diet – Studies (1, 5) show that yohimbine can be effective if it is consumed with a low calories daily diet.
Yohimbine Dosage for Weight Loss
Yohimbine can be consumed as per 0.2 mg per kg of body weight. For example, if a person weighs 70 kg, he should consume (70 x 0.2 = 14) 14 mg of yohimbine per day. This is how one can calculate the daily dose of yohimbine by body weight. But keep in mind that yohimbine should never be taken more than 18 mg per day. Side effects have been observed for doses higher than 18 mg.
The quantity to be consumed throughout the day should be divided into three to four equal parts. For example, if a person takes 15 mg of yohimbine daily, then he can take 5 mg three times a day. It is taken on an empty stomach and it is suggested that after taking it, one should not eat or drink anything for almost 4 hours. One can drink water.
The above method is a general one. There is a special method (6, 7, 14) to use yohimbine which is effective even on lower doses.
- Consume yohimbine in the morning time on an empty stomach in the amount of 5 to 8 mg.
- After taking it, perform a 40 minutes weight training and 20 minutes cardio session.
- After consuming, drink only water and don’t consume anything else for almost 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, have a protein-rich meal.
- A low calories diet plan is advised with this method. If you generally consume 2400 calories per day, reduce it to 2000 calories only.
- The daily diet should be rich in protein and good fats; and less amount of carbohydrates.
- Avoid smoking.
If a person follows this method, one dose is enough to get good results.
Yohimbine Fat Loss Creams
Yohimbine fat loss creams are also available in the market. These creams are used to reduce fat in specific areas like thigh fat and belly fat. A trial (2) was conducted in 1995 which showed that these creams are not effective at all.
Yohimbine Effect on Testosterone and Strength
Many people are using Yohimbine to increase testosterone and strength levels, but as per available studies, yohimbine is not effective to increase testosterone and physical strength.
Yohimbine Effect on Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (impotency) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.
A meta-analysis (16) was published in 1998 that included seven different scientific trials. According to all those 7 scientific trials and 2 other (17, 20, 25) trials, it was seen that yohimbine is effective in curing the problem of erectile dysfunction.
A careful analysis of all the trials helps us to understand some key points which we will discuss now.
Organic and Non-organic Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction can be of two types, organic and non-organic. Organic erectile dysfunction occurs due to some physical problems such as diabetes. Non-organic erectile dysfunction occurs due to psychological (mind-related) problems such as depression or excessive stress that lead to erectile dysfunction. Organic erectile dysfunction is related to the body (physical) and nonorganic erectile dysfunction is related to behavior and emotions (psychogenic).
As per available data, more than 80% of ED is accounted for by organic (physical) causes. The remaining 20% of ED is considered non-organic, or psychogenic. So, we can understand that organic ED is more common.
As per trials, yohimbine has little to no effect on organic ED. Its effect on non-organic ED is acceptable. It means, if a person has ED due to some physical problems (diabetes etc.) then yohimbine will not be of many benefits to him. But if a person has ED due to some mental issues (stress, depression, anxiety, etc.) yohimbine can be beneficial.
Severity Level of Erectile Dysfunction
The severity of ED can be classified into four categories: mild, mild to moderate, moderate, and severe. As per trials (19), yohimbine is effective only on mild and mild to moderate conditions of ED. It has almost no effect on moderate and severe conditions.
Erectile Dysfunction and Smoking
Smoking is one of the major causes of erectile dysfunction. Trials show that yohimbine is not beneficial to smokers. So, if a person is using yohimbine, he should avoid smoking to get good results.
Yohimbine Dosage for Erectile Dysfunction
For erectile dysfunction, 5 mg of Yohimbine 3 times a day can be used. It means 15 mg per day. Keep in mind that yohimbine can be effective only in the following conditions:
- Mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.
- Non-organic ED means psychogenic erectile dysfunction.
If the person has moderate or severe ED, organic ED, or is a smoker, yohimbine is not beneficial for him.
I suggest that those who have the problem of erectile dysfunction should visit a good doctor and take medicine according to the doctor only. One should never make one’s own body an experimental laboratory. Most of the supplements that are available in the market to cure the problem of erectile dysfunction are found to be adulterated, which may give benefits once but there is a possibility of harm later.
I am just telling you how to use yohimbine. It does not mean at all that I am suggesting you take yohimbine. This is an informative article meant to give you information only.
Yohimbine Side Effects
Common Side Effects
There can be many side effects (12, 15, 17, 31) of yohimbine supplement, as follows:
- Stress and anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Heart attach
- Frequent urination
- Hot flushes on the face
- Upset stomach
- Chest pain
- Skin rashes or skin problems
Most of the side effects have been observed at doses above 15 mg. Very minor side effects such as headache, nervousness, sweating, rapid heartbeat, etc. have been observed at doses below 15 mg.
Yohimbine Effect on Cortisol
There is another major side effect that nobody talks about. Many studies (8, 9, 10, 17, 31) show that yohimbine increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that generally controls your mood, emotions, fear, and motivation levels. It also regulates your blood pressure, blood sugar, inflammation, sleep cycle, and many other processes throughout the body.
High cortisol levels over a prolonged period can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, lack of sex drive, in women, periods can become irregular, and can cause many other major problems in the body. It can imbalance other hormone levels also. So, we can understand, cortisol is an important hormone and must be maintained in balance.
It is generally considered that yohimbine can increase cortisol levels only when consumed more than 20 mg per day, but this is not the complete truth. There are also some cases where an increase in cortisol has been observed even with an intake of less than 20 mg yohimbine per day.
Who Should Not Use Yohimbine?
All available supplements are only for healthy people. Those who have any kind of physical or mental disease must consult their doctor, before taking any supplement.
If a person has any of the following issues (14, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32), he should not use Yohimbine:
- Chest pain
- Any kind of mental problem
- Any blood-related issue
- Kidney or liver disease
- Low or high blood pressure
- Any surgery in the next 3 months
- Undergone surgery in last 1 month
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Prostate problems
- Taking regular medicine for any disease
Important Information About Yohimbine
Misleading Labels (13, 26, 27)
In 2016, a survey was conducted in the US, in which 49 yohimbine supplements were tested. The survey proved that the quantity mentioned on the supplement label is misleading. The quantity of yohimbine printed on the label is different than the actual quantity of yohimbine inside. There was a difference of 23% to 147% between the two quantities. It means that if the label says 5 mg of yohimbine per dose, the actual amount can range from 1.15 mg to 7.35 mg.
This is the reason, it is suggested that if you want to use yohimbine, always start with a lower dose.
Yohimbine supplement is banned in many countries. Yohimbine is banned in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom because of its high side effects. (26) It is a prescription drug in the US and cannot be bought without a prescription. Also, it is illegal in the US to sell yohimbine for erectile dysfunction or impotence. (27) Between 2000 and 2006, yohimbine overdose resulted in 130 hospitalizations in California alone. (26, 31)
Although Yohimbine is extracted from the bark of the tree, nowadays it is also being prepared in the laboratory. Yohimbine produced in the laboratory is synthetic or synthetic yohimbine. Such yohimbine can be harmful to health and it is illegal to use such artificial compounds in dietary supplements.
Yohimbine for Weight Loss
Yohimbine can help reduce weight but only works under certain conditions. Such as fasting state, physical exercise, low calories diet, and no smoking. If you fulfill all these conditions even without yohimbine, you will definitely lose weight. Suppose, with yohimbine, you can lose 4 kg in a month, you can lose 3 kg without yohimbine. And as I have mentioned above, yohimbine has many side effects including the possibility of increased cortisol levels. So, I won’t recommend anyone to use yohimbine for fat loss.
If you take an adequate amount of protein and good fat, less amount of carbohydrates, and follow a simple workout routine, then weight can be reduced very easily. You can also add dry fruits, seeds, fish oil, and CLA to get better results. Thus, weight loss can be done without the possibility of any side effects.
Yohimbine for Erectile Dysfunction
Yohimbine can be helpful in erectile dysfunction but it works only in non-organic (psychogenic) cases, and where the severity of ED is low to moderate. Its effect on ED is mild and not very strong.
There are many other supplements available in the market such as vitamin D, zinc, calcium, magnesium, ashwagandha, d-aspartic acid, etc. which are effective and do not have any side effects.
If you are following a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, have used above mentioned basic supplements, and nothing is helping you, then you should visit a good doctor. I won’t suggest yohimbine for ED problems.
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